Sweets & Desserts
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| Make your own ice cream
Nothing beats digging into a tub of homemade ice cream to take the edge off a hot day. Homemade ice cream is always so much more delicious than the packaged variety — and making it is a great way to keep the kids busy... never mind the promise of the reward at the end!
The basic ingredients for any kind of ice cream are cream and sugar. The rest of the ingredients are yours to add (liquidised fruit, toffee, fresh berries and, and...).
But remember, making it isn't the easiest thing to do and the end result will be improved through trial and error. The bottom line is: don't be afraid to experiment with different tastes and textures.
Ice cream is divided into two types:
Custard style is made from a custard base by using lots of egg yolks whisked together with cream, milk and sugar, and cooked gently until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
American style is simpler to make than the custard variety, and does not require as much effort. Instead the recipes are more flexible: you can use heavy cream, half and half, whole milk, skim milk, sour cream or yoghurt.
A basic ice cream recipe
With this recipe, you can either use the traditional freeze method or an ice cream maker. You can also add other ingredients like chopped nuts or chunks of fruit to the mixture before freezing.
2 cans evaporated milk
250ml double cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 ˝ cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
7 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
4 cups milk
In a large steal bowl, beat together eggs, evaporated milk, cream, condensed milk, sugar and vanilla essence with electric beater.
Then beat in instant pudding till smooth.
If using an ice cream maker then pour into freezer canister of ice cream maker and add enough milk to bring mixture to fill line. Freeze according to manufacture’s directions.
If using the traditional freeze method, put mixture into freezer and mix every half an hour or so to dissolve the grainy bits, until the entire mixture is half frozen. Allow it to freeze for up to four hours for "ripening" to occur.
The custard base recipe varies somewhat. For this you will need:
4 egg yolks
250ml double cream
100g sugar or castor sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Bring the milk to a slow boil in a saucepan.
Separately mix together egg yolks and sugar until thick.
Pour hot milk into mixture while constantly stirring, and pour the mixture back into pan and heat gently.
Stir until custard thickens, but don't allow it to boil as this will cause curdling.
Once it forms a film over the spoon, it's ready to be taken off the heat, and leave to cool.
Once the custard base is cool, mix in vanilla essence and cream.
Now would also be a good time to add extra ingredients, and transfer mixture to ice cream making machine and freeze according to manufacture’s instructions.
Some helpful hints
The ice cream mixture will expand when frozen, so never fill the canister of the ice cream maker, instead just make it two-thirds full.
A frozen dessert mixture should taste slightly sweeter at room temperature. So when tasting, don’t be put off by the sweet taste as colder temperatures inhibits the sweetness.
Juice concentrators can be used as substitutes as sweeteners for fruit-flavoured ice creams and sorbets.
Thoroughly and quickly chilling the ice cream mixture before pouring it into the ice cream maker helps provide a firm yet smooth texture.
Never allow ice cream to repeatedly soften and refreeze. This lets small ice crystals form into large lumps.
As you become more confident, try out new recipes and experiment a little with ingredients one would not normally find at your local supermarket, like mint leaves or ginger — you could be pleasantly surprised.